Home Renovations: Live In or Move Out


Whether you bought a fixer upper or are simply updating your kitchen, home renovations can be a big project. If you know what you’re doing, or have friends that can help, you always have the option of doing the renovation yourself. Sometimes, it is easier to use a contractor to get the work done. Either way, you have a big decision to make when it comes time to start work on the renovations.

Do you stay in your house, or do you move out while the work is being done? Living in your home during a renovation can be a nightmare. It can make the work take longer, whether you are using a contractor or not, simply because the work area will have to be cleaned up at the end of every day. This means more time for setting up and taking down the job site everyday, which cuts into the amount of work time available. Moving out is typically the best option, but that doesn’t mean it’s always possible.

If you move out or keep living in your home, you are going to encounter challenges. Each one has advantages and disadvantages. You will have to decide which strategy will be best for you, and your family, when you are renovating your home.

Live-In Strategies

You might be tempted to rent a house, apartment, or get a hotel for the duration of your home renovation. Dealing with all of the chaos of a renovation can be too much. Coupled with the lack of privacy, it’s easy to see why you wouldn’t want to live in your home during a renovation.

However, you might not have a choice. Before moving out, you will need to consider the cost of your temporary residence. Can you afford it? More importantly, can you afford the temporary residence on top of the cost of the renovation, plus any unexpected expenses or hiccups that are bound to happen? In one instance, a home renovation was scheduled to take around four months. The renovation ended up taking 14 months. That is a long time to be paying your current mortgage, for the renovation, and for the temporary housing, that might not be as temporary as you had originally hoped.

Whether you simply decide to live in your home, or if you have no choice but to live in your home, during a renovation, you can make it a little easier. You are going to want to work with your contractor to determine a schedule. You need to know when the workers are going to be in your house, and when they aren’t. You wouldn’t want to step out of the shower, only to find a contractor working nearby. Also, ask your contractor to seal off at least one area of your home, so you can have a construction-free zone to escape to.

It never hurts to shut off the air conditioning and heating during the work, either. You don’t want all of that dust and chemicals travelling through the air ducts of your house. Pack up any unnecessary clothing and other items in vacuum-sealed bags. This will keep them clean, so you don’t have to wash everything after all of the work is done.

You will also want to insist that the workers and contractors clean up daily. Some contractors and companies will actually use plastic to seal off rooms, lay down runners, and even use air scrubbers to keep the air free of dust and chemical fumes. Just because your house is a construction zone doesn’t mean you want the mess and construction spreading beyond where the renovations are happening.

Move Out Strategies

By now, you would probably prefer to move out of your home while the renovations are happening. And that makes sense. You don’t want to deal with the day to day construction, and the noise and mess (and lack of privacy) that comes with it. While you might not always have the option to move out, if you can, there are some great strategies that can work.

One option is to move in with relatives if you can. Hopefully, this will cut out the extra expense of having to rent a temporary residence, which will keep your budget in line. This is especially important if anything comes up (and it will) during a renovation. You can also look at an extended-stay hotel, and while expensive, it will likely be cheaper than renting a house or apartment short term. Another great option is an RV rental. Or, time a vacation around the demolition work.

Moving out during a renovation often speeds up the work. Without having to work around anyone living in the house, the crew can finish sooner. However, you will want to keep close tabs on the work, to make sure that everything is still going smoothly.



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